BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Obesity is associated with an inflammatory state that is often characterized by elevated plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. Although coffee is broadly consumed in Western societies, few studies have examined the relationship between obesity, coffee consumption and CRP levels. The objective of this study was to assess the relationship between obesity, coffee consumption and variation in CRP in postmenopausal, overweight/obese women with or without hormone replacement therapy (HRT) use.
SUBJECTS/METHODS: Cross-sectional analyses of 344 healthy sedentary, overweight/obese postmenopausal women (mean age=57.1+/-6.4 years and mean body mass index (BMI)=36.1+/-3.9 kg/ m(2)). Plasma CRP levels were measured by a highly sensitive immunoassay that used monoclonal antibodies coated with polystyrene particles. Diet was assessed using the Food Intake and Analysis System semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire.
RESULTS: Plasma CRP was positively associated with BMI (P < 0.001) and negatively associated with coffee consumption (P < or=0.05). In women using HRT, plasma CRP was positively associated with BMI in women consuming less than one cup of coffee per month (r (2)=0.15 (P < 0.001)), one cup per day (0.14 (P=0.02)) and more than one cup per day (0.12 (P=0.03)). In women who did not use HRT, CRP was associated with BMI only in women consuming less than one cup of coffee per day (r (2)=0.16 (P < 0.001)) but not in women consuming one cup per day (0.06 (P=0.10)) or more than one daily cup of coffee (0.03 (P=0.27)).
CONCLUSIONS: Among overweight/obese postmenopausal women, coffee consumption is negatively associated with CRP. Coffee consumption appears to attenuate the association between BMI and CRP, but only in women not using HRT.